Featuring Bose with Savarkar is deceitful: Subhashini Ali on Hindu Mahasabha banners

Noting the irony in installing a banner displaying Subhas Chandra Bose and Savarkar next to each other, the CPI(M) leader pointed out that Bose was a fierce critic of Savarkar, while Savarkar had called Bose a ‘Hindu Jihadi’.
Banner displaying image of Hindu nationalist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Banner displaying image of Hindu nationalist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
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Members of the right-wing outfit Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha on Friday, August 19, took down a controversial banner, displaying a photo of Hindu nationalist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose with the words 'Jai Hindu Rashtra', which they had installed at a prominent location in Udupi. The banner, which was erected at the Brahmagiri Circle in the Udupi district of Karnataka on account of Independence Day, had kicked up a row after the police deployed security around the banner for more than four days, following a complaint by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).

“Owing to the Janmashtami celebrations in Udupi, we took the responsibility to take down the banner and discharged police personnel of their duty from protecting the banner,” said Pramod Ucchila, one of the organisation members who had installed the Savarakar banner. As many as eight police officials were posted at the Brahmagiri Circle to protect the banner. The police will be present at the location for the next 15 days as per a request by the municipality, a police official from Udupi told TNM on August 15.

Despite complaints from the SDPI against the banner, the town municipality had decided to keep the banner at the Brahmagiri circle and further provided protection to it. Speaking to TNM, Municipality Commissioner Uday Kumar Shetty said, "There are no restrictions over putting up the banner. The applicants sought permission to put it up three days in advance." When asked if there were any restrictions on the content of the banner being put up in public, considering the Savarkar banner in Brahmagiri circle had ‘Jai Hindu Rashtra’ printed on it, the Municipality Commissioner refused to comment.

Noting the irony in displaying the images of Savarkar and Subhas Chandra Bose adjacent to each other in the same banner, Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Subhashini Ali pointed out that Bose was a fierce critic of Savarkar. Bose's secular ideals were also criticised by Savarkar, who had even called the former a Hindu Jihadi, she said. “To have a banner of Bose and Savarkar together is deceitful and hypocritical because they were both poles apart. The banner is trying to take some shine from Netaji’s image and brighten the image of Savarkar,” she said.

“Savarkar was enlisting soldiers for the British army when World War II broke out. His Hindu Mahasabha established a government with Bengal’s Muslim League,” Subhashini said, further adding that Bose never held back while criticising the Hindu Mahasabha and its leaders, including Savarkar and Syama Prasad Mukherjee. “Bose once argued that their public gatherings should be physically broken up to stop them from spreading their poison,” she said.

In a similar incident, the Commissioner of Mangaluru City Corporation on Friday ordered the removal of banners erected in Surathkal, featuring images of Savarkar and Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. The banner read “Hinduise politics, militarise Hindus” in Kannada, while extending wishes for Krishna Janmashtami, a festival celebrated as the occasion of the birth of Lord Krishna. 

The banner was installed by Rajesh Pavithran, a local Hindu Mahasabha leader. However, Mangaluru civic authorities removed the banner immediately after receiving complaints against it.

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